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Saturday, June 10, 2006

Life as I know it

Life has become a real-time study in the book of Job. I don’t say that lightly. Thankfully, the Lord saw fit to skip over the losing my children and my barns part. But the rest? Well, let’s just say it’s still crashing around me.

I don’t know how long Job had to deal with painful sores, unanswered heart cries, and more than painful accusations from friends. But I’m sitting in the dust and asking God some of the same questions. What’s the purpose in all this?

Why was I in the ER twice on my vacation? Why did I miss the one place where I go to rest because the pain was and is again almost unbearable? Why have both our cars died right before we were going to give our daughters a taste of their childhood dreams? Why is my husband’s job at risk because a mysterious injury is causing him so much pain? Why is my marriage still stretched to the breaking point? Why is writing a painful exercise in failure right now? With all the work my husband and I do, why can’t we even afford a basic used car? And why do I hurt so much?

Where are You, God?

Many of these questions have been dogging my heels most of my waking moments for the better part of three years. Some, like the intense physical pain and mysterious injuries, are newer. But the deep questions are the same. God, don’t You care that I hurt? What am I doing wrong that so much bad continues? Where is the healing?

I do know I have tons of blessings to count. I have my precious girls, a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and food in my belly. For that I’m richer than I deserve. I know that. But sometimes that doesn’t stop the deep spiritual pain of unanswered questions.

Why doesn’t my mom love me?
Why doesn’t my marriage heal?
Why do I feel like a failure ~ unimportant, unappreciated, unseen?

Last night, after a horrid writing day and an unrelenting deadline looming…with my mouth full of ulcers…life and pain got the best of me and I had a mommy tantrum in front of my family. My eldest and her father sat in as Job’s well-meaning friends with things like, “Maybe God is trying to teach you something.” Yeah, and I keep missing it? How does that help me? I probably would have screamed if they’d asked me about sin in my life and religious-sounding hypotheses about if I’d just pray more or believe more or confess more.

They didn’t have to though. I had already been doing all that to myself.

And I still had no answers. I’ve tried to pray. Asked others to pray. Confessed my complaining, unappreciative attitude and my plethora of other sins as well. Tried to write through it, pray through it, believe through it. And my favorite~ not “stress” through it. Like that’s a simple choice I make and all is better.

Then today God sent me an angel in the form of an email. Don’t laugh. If God can use a burning bush or a talking donkey, He can use email. ;-) This email was from a new friend asking about my writing and a fear we had in common. As I replied to her, I started to cry. Something I haven’t let myself do in a long time. Then I started to write my heart. Something I haven’t done much since I haven’t been blogging like I used to.

And God showed up.

Actually, He had never left. I’d just closed my eyes.

Here’s what I shared with my friend…

She’d asked if I had ever written as a form of therapy. Boxes of journals and pages upon pages of blog posts answer a resounding “yes.” But that’s when I realized I haven’t done the heart writing that used to sear my soul with truth. The writing where God talks back to me and I get it. I see. I miss that. Today, my hurting heart is showing up. And trusting God to speak.

As I started to write in the hopes of encouraging my friend in dealing with a fear of hers, that’s when my tears started to break free. Here’s what God illuminated to my heart…

“For me, I know the fear is about failure. If I do this (write a book or try to work with my husband on some painful issues) and it's awful, then I'm a failure and ultimately not worthy of being loved. Sounds silly when I type it out. But the emotions are the most basic we have and the most powerful desire I think all humans share. To be loved. To be known and respected. To be important, valued. What I'm realizing again as I type ~ for probably the hundredth time ~ is that for me to walk in the truth, I have to believe the truth. I am loved. Whether this book is a failure or not. Whether I flub a talk or not. Whether or not my marriage ever heals. That's the truth I know I've been running from and it took your email for me to listen. Thank you. What I just typed in this paragraph is the core of who I am and what I feel like God has called me to do~ teach the truth about rejecting lies and believing truth. And I was just reminded that my writing is what has given me the most opportunity to do that. To share with you and with others what God is always in the process of doing~ loving us. Teaching us truth. Healing us. Calling us to join Him in His work. To see we were created for a purpose and plan far greater than we could ever ask or imagine.

"This believing lies or truth is so hard to wrap my mind around and so easy it seems to forget. But I think that's one reason God created us to be part of a Body~ to remember. To encourage each other to hang on to the truth when the enemy blasts his fiery darts and they hurt.”

When life hurts. Which, right now, is life as I know it. Life as so many of us know it. Where are God’s healing miracles? Where is God when life hurts?

A lot of the time I feel like the paralytic in John 5 who sat for decades not getting into the pool to receive a healing. When Jesus asked him, "Do you want to get well?” He replied, "Sir, I have no one to help me.”

Or we can add our own version of the words, “But Lord, I hurt too much.” Or “But Lord, I don’t understand.” Or “But Lord, I’m not this, that or the other.” Or mine as of late, “But Lord, I’m terrified of failing.”

Today, I finally looked up as Jesus asked me the same question as the paralytic. “Do you want to get well?” Uhm, yes? At least I know I want to lose the pain and the heartache and make my circumstances feel better.

So Jesus asked again. “Do you want to get well?” And then He extended His hand in the form of an email. When I stopped to listen and look into His face, I felt His answer for me.

The Holy Spirit brought to mind two verses…

2 Timothy 1:8-9 “God has saved us and called us with a holy calling—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time…”

John 6:29 “Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.’”

I think because I’m so slow to let go of what I want to happen, God added this…His spoken words to my heart.

“Fear not, Amy. I have called you by name. You are Mine.”

God’s healing miracles are working themselves through my heart as I turn to Him and listen.

I still don’t have a car for church tomorrow.
I still have a mouth full of ulcers.
My marriage still has a lot of healing needed.
I still have a looming deadline.
I still live in a painful, fallen world.
Some of my questions remain unanswered.

But I have put my hand in the Hand of the One who made the universe. And I’m standing again. In truth.

I am loved.
He has a purpose and plan for me that’s beyond all I can imagine.
He promises He will complete His work.

And for now, that’s enough for me to walk again. With Him.

11 comments:

Belinda P. said...

Amy,
For all your unanswered questions you have the answer.
You are loved.
Loved by the One who is faithful, and will guide you to where you need to be. Write His heart. You can't fail. You won't fail. He who is faithful won't let you.

Sally said...

Amy, I am so sorry you are in a hurting place again. I am so glad to see you blogging again though. You know you can always call if you need a listening ear! You are loved you know!! I know you know that but I know (from experience!) that sometimes it is hard to see that when you're in the middle of "it."

Amy Wallace said...

Lindi,

You are so right! Knowing and believing I'm loved is the answer. And remembering God's faithfulness and the fact that He will never fail is the source of comfort no matter what the difficulty. Thanks for your loving reminder of that truth!

Amy

Amy Wallace said...

Sally,

You are so precious to me to offer a listening ear when you're dealing with just as much tough stuff. Thank you for loving me well, my friend!

I'd like to talk again on the phone just because you're a joy to hang out with. ;-) And I may take you up on that soon.

Thanks for speaking the truth in love! Your post made me smile. ;-)

Amy

see-through faith said...

You are loved.

You are loved.

You are loved.

Thanks for this post. It took courage - and it will turn into a blessing.

I'm not sure if this is the right place ... but I got books today in the post and think they are from you. (grin) Let me know!

http://stf.heavenlytrain.com

GloreyB said...

***(from your post) Or we can add our own version of the words, “But Lord, I hurt too much.” Or “But Lord, I don’t understand.” Or “But Lord, I’m not this, that or the other.” Or mine as of late, “But Lord, I’m terrified of failing.”***

Ah....The "BUT" statement - I have been thinking about it much...'but' negates what was stated before it - and can be seen as negative...but we serve a God that says "BUT" - in the positive! Amazing if you look in the Bible and see so many places where people were overwhelmed with their circumstances and God came along and said "but" (that may be your circumstances BUT I am above circumstances and circumstances are ALWAYS subject to change!)
I am attempting to write a book - and I find myself ... afraid really to pick it up again and continue...then I will be responsible for actually doing something with it......

Bruce said...

Just passing through...got to your blog from Lorna. Thank you for what you wrote. This is where I am, well some of it. We walk this journey together, eh? Like the paralytic who couldn't get to Jesus except that his friends brought him to the Healer (even going so far as to cut a hole in the roof to accomplish the task), sometimes we need our friends to bring us to Jesus because we can get there. It's interesting that we both think of a paralyzed person when we relate to Jesus...we are all paralyzed by something. God, and your friends, be with you in your journey.

B~

see-through faith said...

I’m so slow to let go of what I want to happen

me too Amy. Glad you could vocalise it. That's a great start.

Amy Wallace said...

Lorna,

Thanks so much for your very encouraging posts! What a blessing it is to have online friends like you come visit and share the truth. I love reading the comments~ so many times they teach me and remind me of exactly what I needed to hear.

I'm glad you received the books too! Hope you'll continue visiting the website (new books every month ;-) ) and keep in touch!

Many blessings,
Amy

Amy Wallace said...

Gloria,

What an awesome point you made about God's use of "but" statements! Very cool! Thank you.

Congrats on writing a book! Your blog is very encouraging and I'm a firm believer that if God puts that whisper into your heart to write, He has a good plan and a good purpose in it~ both for the author's growth and for the people the writing will touch.

SO...pick up that book again and imagine yourself writing with Jesus' arms around you, giving you the words and looking on with a smile. My pastor always says a line that challenges me in so many areas...Obey God and leave the consequences to Him.

Writing with you!
Amy

Amy Wallace said...

Bruce,

Thanks so much for your insightful post! And thanks for visiting my blog. It's great to hear from new people and know that God works through each of us~ through blogs and emails, friends and every facet of life.

Your post reminded me to be so very thankful for the great friends the Lord has given me~ both IRL and online.

God is good!
Amy

 
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